Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Body and mind

Taking care of your whole self


Less hurt: Better depression treatment has a bonus for the elderly: It also improves arthritis symptoms, new research shows.

The study in today's Journal of the American Medical Association focused on improving teamwork by primary care providers to treat depression.

Patients with both depression and arthritis experienced less arthritis pain, enhanced functioning and better quality of life along with improved mood, said Jurgen Unutzer, lead researcher and psychiatrist at the University of Washington.

The study found that the team approach - referring patients to a care manager - had better outcomes than the standard treatment of antidepressant medications and referral to a counselor or therapist.

Older people with depression typically deal with a variety of chronic illnesses, including arthritis, researchers said.

The study followed 1,800 adults 60 and older.


Stretch: Dr. Stuart McGill, a spine function expert and researcher with the American Council on Exercise, recommends these four exercises for strengthening and stabilizing the back:

• Cat-Camel: While on all fours, slowly alternate arching and rounding your back. Hold each pose eight to 12 seconds.

• Curl-up: Lie flat on your back with one knee flexed. Raise your head and shoulders off the floor. Alternate the bent leg midway through each repetition. Pause, return to the starting position and repeat.

• Side bridge: Lie on your right side, knees bent. Raise your upper body, using your right arm to support yourself. Use your torso to lift your hips, being careful not to let the top hip rotate forward. Make sure your elbow is aligned directly beneath your shoulder. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.

• Bird dog: While on all fours, extend one leg and the opposite arm so they are parallel to the floor. Hold the pose for seven to eight seconds, then repeat with the opposite arm and leg.


Program: Plastic surgeon Richard Williams will talk about breast reconstruction after mastectomy at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Latonia Baptist Church's breast cancer support group meeting, 38th and Church streets in Covington. Reservations: (859) 431-8004.

Benefit: Proceeds from Saturday's "Art with a View" sale will benefit the Wellness Community, a nonprofit support agency for cancer patients and their families. Sculpture, paintings and photographs will be available at the sale, 7 to 11 p.m. at Domaine de la Rive, 100 RiverCenter Blvd. in Covington. Cost: $100. Information: Amy Schmidt, 791-4060 or

Shelf help

Advice: Learning to Speak Alzheimer's (Houghton Mifflin; $24) by Joanne Koenig Coste offers practical advice for caregivers and patients dealing with the debilitating disease.

Contact Peggy O'Farrell by phone, 768-8510; fax, 768-8330, or e-mail,

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